Relentless is the third book in a series about a private investigation company whose operatives all have a little something extra. Hush and Afterglow are the first two books in this romantic suspense series that has a slight touch of the paranormal. I have not read either of them, but this book stands well on its own.
Isis Magee is the daughter of one of the world’s premier Egyptologists. August Magee has been searching for Cleopatra’s tomb for 30 years. Unfortunately he has also publicly announced this finding more than once and the archeological world has recently written him off as an eccentric. To make matters even worse, August has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and cannot remember the last euphoric call he placed to his daughter informing her that he had definitely found Cleopatra’s tomb. Fortunately, August had some artifacts in his pocket when he was found wandering in the Egyptian desert. Isis has sold everything she owns to finance an investigation to clear her father’s name.
Connor Thorne is an MI-5 operative on sabbatical as he recovers from the almost fatal wounds he received at the hands of a Russian criminal while tracking him in Egypt. During his recovery, he has taken a job with Lodestone, a P.I. firm whose members have uncanny abilities. Thorne is a human GPS, a skill he miraculously obtained after dying on the operating table. When given an object, he can immediately locate its last resting place by longitude and latitude numbers. When he learns that Isis’ investigation will lead to Egypt, he is adamant about not wanting the assignment as the memories of his worst nightmare are in that desert. The object Isis has him touch leads to London and the exhibit that will feature August Magee’s lifetime achievements as an Egyptologist. Thorne finally agrees to go to London and no farther.
I really liked both of these characters. Isis is infused with optimism almost to the point of being a Pollyanna, but misses that mark enough to make her a very likeable character. Thorne is not only British, but British aristocracy, so “stiff upper lip” is his middle name. Isis and Thorne are polar opposites in every way. The beginning of the book starts a little slowly, so it took me a bit to get into the story, but once it gets started the pace picks up considerably. Think Indiana Jones with lots of lust. Though Thorne and Isis are attracted to one another, they do not immediately hop into bed – and when they do, Thorne makes it very apparent that he is not looking for anything permanent. Instead of trying to change his mind, Isis accepts this with an equanimity that we rarely see from heroines. This makes the HEA a win for team optimism. The hero and heroine are definitely the highlights of this book.
The villains are a little too starkly black with very little nuance to their characters. While I do not mind truly evil villains, I appreciate some attempt to humanize them. The rest of my criticisms of this book are really just quibbles, but enough of them add up to keep from giving Relentless a higher rating. Thorne, the human GPS who has memorized the bazaar area of Cairo so well that he unerringly guides them through the stalls in the dark, must have Isis direct him with a map later on in the story. He begins the story having to use a cane to get around because of the severe injuries to his leg, but winds up running so fast without the cane that Isis has trouble keeping up with him. In fact, the cane disappears through most of the action only to reappear toward the end of the book.
Relentless is a solid book with likeable characters, and as long as you are willing to suspend belief and not get distracted by the incongruities, you can just sit back and enjoy the ride.